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Ruthless: first impressions

Two years ago I was lucky enough to attend Essen Spiel to demo for Richard Denning's Nine Worlds. I was given the Thursday off to soak up the atmosphere and take a look at some games and was attracted to Roland MacDonald's little stand showing off his prototype for Ruthless: Legends of the Black Flag. The selling points were Pirates, and it being a different kind of deck builder, and of course incredible artwork as that is Roland's day job. It arrived a couple of weeks ago and I've now played it twice. Time for first impressions.

4p game at Bromsgrove Board Gamers

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GI2018: the full report

The Great Indoors 2018

Saturday 28th - Sunday 29th July at Bromsgrove Council House

We had more than 100 people attend over the whole weekend, though the exact number is unknown because I managed to recycle the paperwork. Sorry folks!

Exhibitors

This year we played host to Mythic Games, with their prototypes of the upcoming release Solomon Kane, Asgard Games who brought their retail stock to sell, and the ever-present Medusa Games demonstrating multiple games including Essen 2018 release Magnificent Flying Machines and a world exclusive premiere for a King of the Castle-themed family game.

Solomon Kane

Mark demoing Solomon Kane

Asgard Games

Just a small selection of games then Vince

King of the Castle

Richard Denning's King of the Castle game. You saw it here first!

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A random, unofficial player expansion

If you are hoping for an article about the finer details of designing complex eurogames, I'm afraid you're going to be disappointed. Animal-upon-Animal is a dexterity game where you build up a communal heap of meeples in a big two-dimensional pile on top of a crocodile. It gains a lot from the cheeky, chunky nature of wooden meeples.

Original pile

Original pile

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Mistakes Were Made

Hello there! It’s been a minute. We skipped last week as my mom was in town. (Actually, the guys played TI4 on Sunday but I sat out. Dodd won. Workman got obliterated. It sounded fun.) And this week, we found ourselves sans Steve. So we had to pull out the Three-Player Game Night Playbook. (That’s a thing. Buy a copy. For realsies.)

Three-Player Game Night Playbook

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I'm in love! And it's not even Friday!

Hello and welcome to game night! I hope no one minds, but we played Root again. It was my pick, and there was nothing else I really wanted to play. And to be fair, I asked for suggestions from you all last week and only got one. (And it was for an out of print game that I’ve never even seen, much less played.) So you have only yourselves to blame. Really.

But in all honestly, I really did just want to play Root again. I can’t remember when a game has captivated me quite the way this one has. It’s all I want to play right now. Is this what Love feels like? (“Love” autocorrected to a capital L just now, and I’m leaving it. Because yes, this must be Love with a capital L.)

Root

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We played Root twice and ate tacos and had birthday cake (Happy Birthday Workman!) and played High Society and I had a pretty stiff cocktail with dinner but it’s fine. I’m fine. Really.

Before we get to game night proper, Workman’s birthday is next week, and we opted to celebrate a bit early. We had pork tacos and tres leches cake and I enjoyed a pretty stiff whiskey sour. After all, it’s not everyday your BFF turns 15! In all seriousness, I know I say I hate Workman all the time but I don’t really. He’s actually one of my all-time favorite people (except for 2-3 hours once a week and sometimes on Sunday afternoons), so everyone wish him a happy birthday. (And please don’t tell him I said any of this. It’s probably the liquor talking anyway.)

But....you’re here for game night. And what a night it was. It was Steve’s pick and he wanted to play Root. I was much excite.

Root box

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In which we play Kemet and Leon sneezes. A lot.

It was Leon’s night to pick, and he wanted to play Kemet.

(Editor’s note: if you know anything about Kemet, you know that it doesn’t suffer slow play. You’re driving hard to the hoop from turn one. Hence, I’m dispensing with the witty intro. We’re getting straight to it. Which is fine by you, I imagine. I laid it on pretty thick last week.)

Kemet box

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Blades of Glory

So, here’s a fun fact about Workman: he’s a dick. I kid. (I mean, he IS a dick, I was kidding about that being the fun fact.) The fun fact is: he loves to play Magic. Like, LOVES to play Magic. Don’t ask me how much he spent on a faerie deck. Don’t. I won’t tell you. (Ok, geekmail me. I might tell you.)

Steve and Leon don’t play Magic so much. But they do love a good card game. In fact, they met playing VS. (What a great “how we met” story.) And Steve started the entire Louisville Card Board Gamers Group just so he could play Warhammer: Invasion. (Some might call him a beast.)

They are all three, at varying times and to varying degrees, fans of the CCG: the aforementioned MtG, L5R, various and sundry past and future games, and even the notorious Hearthstone regularly make the conversation rounds on game night. And when they do, I usually just sit there, staring off into the middle distance, wondering how I got here.

See, I don’t love the CCG style game. I was an Ashes fan. (Was. Past tense. As with most relationships, it’s complicated.) And I love me some Crystal Clans. But those are anomalies. I’m not so much a deck-building, money-spending, tournament-playing CCG person. So imagine my excitement when Workman bought and wanted to play Millennium Blades. Imagine.

But....I don’t want to be THAT person. That person who bad mouths a game before even playing it. That person who says “I won’t like that”, “Not for me”, “LAME”. (That person Workman was the night we played Lowlands, if I’m honest.) I don’t want to be that. So I watched a play-through. (Rahdo’s. It was epic. I mean that. He lost his mind. Totally worth a watch.) And I tried to read the rulebook. Really I did. And I tried to get excited. Really I did. Really.

Really.

Millennium blades box

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Boo. That's all I've got. Titles are the worst

I’m not sure if I’ve ever explained this, but we play on a different night each week to accommodate Steve. More specifically, to accommodate his wife’s work schedule, but regardless, Steve is the one with the difficult calendar. Leon will occasionally have a conflict with one of his kids, and Workman and I hardly ever can’t do game night. Typically what happens is this:

Me (I’m the unofficial planner): “Steve, what nights you got next week?” Steve: “Wednesday and Thursday.” Leon: “I can’t do Wednesday, do Thursday.” And life is good, we have a Thursday game night, Workman wins something, and you wonderful people read about it the next day.

But every now and then, this happens: Me (Still the unofficial planner, they really don’t appreciate me): “Steve, what nights you got next week?” Steve: “Just Wednesday.” Leon: “I can’t do Wednesday.”

And then there’s this awkward silence because Workman and I know, like sad children caught up in an unfortunate divorce, we have to choose between mom and dad. Who do we play with? Steve? Or Leon?

This time, we chose Leon. I’m not saying we felt good about it. Just like life, sometimes game night is cruel and unfair. But it must go on. (Actually, that’s not true at all. We could just cancel and spare someone’s feelings. But where’s the fun in that?)

So left with a 3P game night, we went the co-op route again. I’d been wanting to play Ghost Stories for YEARS now.

Ghost Stories box

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WOOT. Wait, I mean ROOT. No, I meant WOOT. WOOT. ROOT.

So bucket list item completed....I went to Gencon last week. Just went for the day but wowzers, fun times. Not sure my heart could take more than one day, but it was super funsies. I only had one objective: buy Root. Achievement unlocked. And to make it even sweeter, it was my night to pick this week, so guess what we played? Woot indeed.

Root box

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A week late but finally here. GET HYPED.

So as you undoubtedly noticed (did you notice? I hope you noticed) there was no post last week. (Unless you count Sunday, which was technically last week, but don’t count Sunday, it completely breaks the theme.) There was a game night last week, but for mundane, ultra-boring reasons, I was not able to post after. And then once you miss the night of, there seems to be no urgency to get the post out there. You know, I’ll just post whenever. And then of course it never happened.

So the plan was to do a first-ever double post. Sounds exciting doesn’t it? Well, it would have been. But Leon’s off to Gencon and Steve forgot he has to have a tree cut down and Workman couldn’t be bothered, and just like that, game night got canceled this week. So, no game night, no double post, no other solarium. And now all we’re left with is an incredibly late, underwhelming post from last week’s game night. Sorry for the lame.

It was Steve’s pick. He had nothing. I showed him his list. Still nothing. He asked to play “something new”. So we played something technically old, but new to us.

Arctic Scavengers box

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Working Title For Yet Another TI4 Post

Guess what today was? Hint:

Twilight Imperium fourth edition box

You guessed it.....Twilight Imperium: Fourth Edition day!

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Ocean's 3

Steve had to choose between priorities this week, and he chose poorly. Leon had similar conflicts, but he opted out of something other than game night. I think we know who the hero of this story is. But I digress.

Left with three, we decided to do something we hadn’t done in a few years. We decided to rob a bank.

Burgle Bros.

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Quick hacks for early prototyping

Hello. My name is Tony and I like to play games and make ... stuff. That's enough about me. My plan for this series is to do two or three entries over the next couple of months and then abandon it. I'm fairly confident of success with the bar set at this level.

So anyway, over the past few years I've played a few board games and this means I also think about making them. There are a lot of blogs about game design already, so I'm going to take a different approach - and write mostly about how to prototype things using random crap. Unfortunately this means my children are also in on the deal. Here is something I came home to a couple of years ago.

New designers

I'm not going to claim that this was a 'good' game, but it did have an expansion called "the blacksmith". That's actually pretty much the sort of thing you're in for, I'm afraid.

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My top ten UKGE 2018 moments

UK Games Expo: better than Christmas for gamers

Those were the thoughts of my friend Kev, but I completely concur. This year, my UKGE experience was better than ever...and also rather different. I went on the Friday and Saturday but wasn't heading into the convention with masses of plans of demos and buying. Instead I had a couple of stands to visit, a few purchases/sales to pickup/deliver, and nothing else concrete. Instead, I would play some games, stroll round the halls seeing what piqued my interest...and spend some time with friends. So, here's my top ten UKGE 2018 moments.

Open gaming

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Solomon Kane @ GI2018

Solomon Kane

What is Solomon Kane?

Based upon the stories by Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan), Solomon Kane is a narrative adventure board game featuring exceptional 35mm miniatures. It is a highly innovative co-operative game of storytelling, resource management, and tactical miniatures play. Players take the part of the invisible powers of good and light who aid Solomon Kane in his quest to overcome the forces of Darkness. Each player is one of the four Cardinal Virtues: Courage, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice, each with special powers that reflect their unique role. Drawing upon Howard’s famous tales of the Puritan avenger, the core box allows players to tell their own versions of the Rattle of Bones, Skulls in the Stars, and Blue Flame of Vengeance. Expansions recreate Howard’s other Solomon Kane stories, as well as adding original adventures for the hero, created especially for the game.

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GI2018

What's on

If you've been waiting patiently (or otherwise) for news about The Great Indoors 2018 then your wish is now granted. Check out everything we've got in store for you so far. Hopefully we'll have more to add to this list of features in the weeks building up to the event.

Loads of open gaming space with signal system for finding games/gamers

People who've attended our first two events in 2016 and 2017 told us how much they valued lots of space for open gaming. This year's venue is much larger than last year and has masses of space for people who just want to game. We also have our signal system to make it easy to find games with open slots or attract gamers to join your game.

Open gaming

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Is that a true story?

Hello! Welcome to game night! Well, it’s over actually. You’re late. But it was fun! You missed a good time. Let’s discuss.

It was Workman’s turn to pick. And he picked confrontation. Twice.

First pick: Battle for Rokugan

Box and map Battle for Rokugan

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Playing with your Mind

Our good friends over at Herefordshire Board Gamers have been busy little bees arranging multiple upcoming events. The first of two charity game days, from 11am to 11pm, is on March 31st and will be a relaxed affair while an "extravaganza mega fundraiser" is being held on May 19th.

Last, but certainly not least, is their rescheduled 24 hour board game-a-thon (with the original event snowed under) being held on April 28th.

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The Great AireCon

I attended my second AireCon over the weekend of 9th-11th March. 2017 was my first visit to both Harrogate and indeed AireCon; I spent much of that weekend wandering around feeling a little lost in this new place with very few people I really knew also in attendance. This year would be rather different. Firstly, Emma agreed to attend on the Friday which was the first convention she's voluntarily attended purely as a consumer (rather than at The Great Indoors, or exhibiting at UKGE last summer). Secondly, thanks to a natural progression of meeting new friends at various board game events- and the magnificent Board Game Trading and Chat UK Facebook group- there were plenty of lovely gamers who I would have the pleasure of meeting for the first time in person, or spending time with again.

AireCon sign

Photo courtesy of Allen O'Connor, featured on his blog Glass Bead Boardgames

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Column Colors, Row Numbers

I’m just going to leave this here.

Hangouts

Hello! Welcome to this week’s post. I’ve just come from my coronation and I’ve got a lot to cover. Get comfortable.

It was my night to pick, so of course that sorry son of a bitch Steve bailed. Always on my night! No matter. I’d been wanting to play some abstract games for a while, and they all play well with three. It was fine.

Abstracts

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The House of the Rising Sun (On Pi Day! With Ice Cream!)

Happy Pi Day everyone! Since game night fell on 3.14 this year, I baked us a pie. I only have one decent pie in my arsenal, which I like to call my Mostly Chocolate Chip Pie. Because it’s mostly chocolate chips. Mostly.

Mostly chocolate chip pie

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The Return of the King Charlotte

It was Leon’s turn to pick, and he picked a fan favorite: Clockwork Wars. I think we all really like Clockwork Wars, but Leon really REALLY likes it because he mostly wins. Mostly.

Clockwork Wars box

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Workman actually thought of a clever title for this week’s post but I won’t use it because I hate him so damn much

(Pssst.....don’t repeat this or anything, but it was Workman’s turn to pick and we didn’t play Charterstone. I repeat, we DID NOT play Charterstone. Maybe they’ve forgotten? A girl can dream.)

But yes, it was game night, it was Workman’s pick, and we played Terra Mystica of all things.

Terra Mystica box

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Leon made up an entire dinner outing to Red Robin, and I can’t even think of a title for this post

Almost a full month ago, my copy of Rising Sun arrived at my door. I’ve been dying to play. But everybody else wanted to play Charterstone. Selfish bastards.

But tonight was finally my night to pick. What has two thumbs and didn’t pick Charterstone?

Rising Sun box

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The Uwe Rosenberg progress report

As readers of my recent Top 50 games (as of 2017) blogs will have noticed, one designer's games occupied the positions of No.1 and No.2: Uwe Rosenberg. Anyone who has been involved in the hobby for even a short amount of time will likely have come across his games and/or know his name. He's managed to publish hit after hit in recent years and the announcement of an upcoming Rosenberg release generates a lot of interest; this is not just due to the hype bug but a result of his great popularity amongst gamers who enjoy challenging Eurogames. He has 7 games in the Boardgamegeek Top 100, and 4 within the Top 50, a record that no other designer can rival. Vlaa Chvatil: 3 in the Top 100 (3/0 1-50/51-100) because I do not count two versions of the same game. Matt Leacock: 2/2. Stefan Feld: 1/1. Eric Lang: 1/2. Martin Wallace: 1/1. You get the idea. While the BGG rankings cannot be anything but a collection of subjective opinions, they do at least give us a useful indication of the relative merits of thousands upon thousands of games.

Uwe's Top 100 representatives

So...I thought I'd give a brief account of all the Rosenberg games I've tried so far. 11! Wow. Maybe a better blogger would've checked that first before deciding to write an article about them. I knew I'd played a few...! Read on, if you're brave enough.

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Declaring Art and Making Bank

It’s Sunday! And it’s game day! (Whaaa?) Before I explain, some housekeeping.

We did have a game night last week. It was Steve’s night to pick, and he picked the cardboard manifestation of unending monotony. I mean Charterstone. As promised, I did not blog about this experience. But to summarize, we played twice. Workman won both. I finished second in both. I’ve decided finishing second is where it’s at. You need glory points, not wins. At least not now. And you get loser swag!

Afterward, we played Love Letter and Leon won. Dammit Leon.

And that was our weekly game night. Sorry no post, but there wasn’t much to say.

This week, Workman is in training. I won’t say what he’s training for, but he can’t be bothered with the distraction of a game night. So we decided to play today instead. We’d been wanting to play on a weekend so we could get Steve’s birthday game played.

Remember this?

Steve's birthday present

Did you know they even made such wrapping paper? You really can get anything from Amazon.

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 10-1

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 10-1. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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It's hot in here. An interview with AireCon founder Mark Cooke

One of the joys of board gaming, for me at least, is going along to conventions. There's something wonderfully uplifting about walking into a place and seeing masses of people looking at/demoing/playing board games. It makes me feel included; among friends. Last year, whilst attending Dragonmeet in London, I entered a competition to win a brand new copy of Terraforming Mars, the big hotness of 2016. This was being run by the organisers of AireCon who were there drumming up support for their own convention, held annually in Harrogate. You can imagine my disappointment delight when I found out I'd won second prize: a free ticket to AireCon 2017.

AireCon logo

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I Hate Workman

It was Leon’s night to pick and he picked Charterstone. Dammit Leon.

Charterstone box

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 20-11

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 20-11. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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What happens in Vegas.......gets written up in a plucky blog and posted to a niche hobby website for 30-40 people to read and enjoy.

It was my night to pick, and after several failed attempts (I’m looking at you Steve) to play Lords of Vegas in the past few months, Lady Luck finally smiled on me tonight.

Lords of Vegas box

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Peter's Top 50 2017: 30-21

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 30-21. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Thoughts on The 7th Continent

Today, I would like to share some thoughts about The 7th Continent.

Marion and I are around 20 hours into the game, close to lifting the first curse of the Voracious Goddess. So far, we are having a blast. Marion is even considering calling it her favourite game ever, just to say.

The 7th Continent

There is so much cleverness and elegance packed into this game, it is insane. So many different kind of actions to do, so many places to explore, and always with a great sense of purpose, which leads to tough and exciting decisions. It really feels like a well-balanced open-world type of game, even more than games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Time Stories or Arabian Nights.

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Throwing Shade

It was Steve’s night to pick and he wanted to play Battle for Rokugan again. But despite all the many technological advances in the world of scheduling, Steve still can’t read a calendar and his wife was working tonight. So he canceled. Year of Steve my ass.

But guess what? We played Rokugan anyway. Our first back-to-backer in some time. (I mean, I could look it up and see exactly how long it’s been but I don’t really care and neither do you. We both know this.)

Battle for Rokugan box

Just so you wouldn’t think I reused last week’s image, I went all dramatic angle on this one.

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Peter's Top 50 (2017): 40-31

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version and games 40-31. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Peter's Top 50 (2017): 50-41

2016 was the first year that I wrote a Top 50 games. Here's the 2017 version starting with games 50-41. Each game is linked to the relevant Boardgamegeek page. I have adapted/borrowed descriptions of each game to give you some flavour as to what it's about, then follows my thoughts.

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Teamwork, 5

It was Workman’s pick, and he was “kinda feeling Tichu.” He first said he had some analog version of Hearthstone he was going to have us play, but I was pretty sure he was just being an ass and I responded in kind. (BGG really needs to add the middle finger emoji.) So of course when his legit pick turned out to be Tichu, I was all about it.

Tichu box

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Hearthstone Should Die of Gonorrhea and Rot in Hell. Cookie?

It was my night to pick, so of course Steve canceled. His wife got tickets to Star Wars, like that’s a big deal. (Steve doesn’t even like Star Wars!) Not that I’m a grudge holder, but this makes the third straight time that 1)It was my pick, 2)I really needed four players, and 3)Steve screwed me.

But Munch saved the day! His wife also had plans, but he wears the pants at his house, she canceled, and he was our fourth. (That’s not exactly what happened, but basically.) And even better, Munch also agreed to join for the pre-game dinner. And even even better better, Steve and fam were at the restaurant! Have you ever run into your ex and you were with someone much smarter and funnier and hotter? Yeah, me neither. I don’t think that ever happens. But this was close! I just wish Steve and fam could have stayed long enough to see us laughing and having great conversation with Munch and not missing Steve at all. But they had to get to the theater. And we didn’t have great conversation. We talked about Hearthstone. And by we, I mean not me. Other than emasculating Workman by opening the Cholula when he couldn’t, I don’t think I participated other than to eat. Workman, Munch, and Leon talked and talked and talked. About Hearthstone. It’s the Monty Python of games.

But that finally ended and we went to Workman’s house and commenced Game Night proper. My pick? Fate of the Elder Gods.

Fate of the Elder Gods box

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Shogun: a review

We all love new games- at least that seems to be the case for the vast majority of board gamers. There's a thrill of being amongst the first to enjoy a new experience; your opinions and feedback seem that much more valuable because there isn't a long list of people who have been there done it.

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Archipelago

Today, I would like to talk about Archipelago, a game about exploration, expansion and exploitation in the Caribbean (a 3X game) at the time of colonisation. You see, Marion (my wife) and I have just tested a few 4X games (add extermination to the previously mentioned ‘X’s) recently, like Scythe or Twilight Imperium and they haven’t clicked so well with us and one of the main reasons is that we don’t really enjoy destroying what the other has had fun building.

But it is also more complicated than that. Because we enjoy playing Nothing Personal or Food Chain Magnate, which are definitely in your face aggression. So what is it about Scythe or Twilight Imperium that we don’t like? After long discussions, we came to the realisation that we don’t really enjoy the theme of war. Especially Marion. She says that as a girl, she’s never really been playing with plastic soldiers, GI-joes, Call Of Duty and anything related to war... Whereas as a boy, I grew comfortable in that setting, to the point I don’t really see the drama anymore.

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King Steve and King Charlotte and Kingsburg

In honor of Pearl Harbor Day tomorrow, we let Steve pick. And he really wanted to play a game that would let us play with our new dice (see last week’s post). So he came up with Kingsburg.

Kingsburg box

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Announcing GI2018

BIG NEWS! The Great Indoors is back for its third year in 2018.

On Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th July GI2018 will take place at Parkside Suite, Bromsgrove. You may or may not be aware but this is the first time the event will run over two days. We are very keen to cater for increasing numbers of attendees and provide the best experience possible. To that end, we have received feedback suggesting there is demand for a whole weekend event; in addition it was always our aim eventually for The Great Indoors to be a weekend event. We feel that the time is right for this and hope that you'll be able to join us for one or even both days. While pricing is not finalised at this point, having the venue for two days will enable us to offer weekend tickets at a reduced rate while not penalising those who wish to only attend for one day.

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The Poor need to stay poor

Before we get into game night proper, I need to do a little housekeeping.

As you may recall, the last time I posted, we were celebrating our two year anniversary as a game group. I had planned a surprise gift, but unfortunately did not plan it four days sooner, which is when I would have had to have ordered it so it would arrive on time. As it was, it arrived the next Wednesday, and we didn’t play last week due to the holiday, so finally tonight I was able to give them their anniversary gift. Better late than never, am I right?

So what was the surprise?

Spoiler alert, custom dice are not as expensive as you might think, and you don’t have to order in large quantities. (Go to Chessex.com and tell them the creevedog sent you.) (The creevedog part is really optional, and probably won’t result in any advantage at all. It just sounded cool.) Long story short, I was able to create a set of dice for each of us and give everyone a set of everyone else’s dice. (That was really hard to say. Everyone got four sets of dice. Damn.)

Custom dice

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Introductory post: Victor Lamy

When Peter reached out to me following one of my blog posts on Board Game Geek a few weeks ago, we got on very well and Peter kindly invited me to join the Great Indoors community of contributors - thank you, Peter, for the great opportunity to be here in front of you today.

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The View from the Bottom of the Food Chain

And just like that, it was game night again.

It was Workman’s night to pick. He chose Dominant Species. I’ve played DS twice before, but it’s been a while. I remember a cut-throat war game where you climb and claw your way to the top of the evolutionary heap by conniving, scheming, and attacking the weakest among you. I can’t imagine why Workman wanted to play.

Dominant Species box

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Cate Blanchett is not Tilda Swinton and I am not the King but Leon is the Pope

Few things in life are certain. Death. Taxes. And if it’s Steve’s night to pick, he won’t show up.

I should be more charitable. He tried. He picked Star Trek: Ascendancy. He was really excited to play. He even made it to dinner. But he was sick and felt terrible and decided to go home and sleep. (This is in no way relevant to the story and I’m not mad or anything, but he picked the restaurant too, and we went to Chili’s. I used to love Chili’s but they’ve changed their menu and I can’t even describe to you how bad it sucked. Just unfathomable suckage. Truly next level suck.)

So that left Workman, Leon and me. But we don’t sweat three-player game nights anymore. Workman shouted titles from the closet and we had so many choices we couldn’t even pick one. But we finally landed on Ra.

Ra box

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The Three Amigos

It was Steve’s night to pick, but his wife’s sister was unexpectedly in town and she lives in England and words, words, words....he bailed. So it was just the three amigos. (The waiter at the Mexican restaurant calls us “amigos”. I like it. I’m sure he doesn’t call anyone else that.)

Back-up plan: I was expecting my copy of Alien Artifacts. A delivery was attempted over the weekend, but I missed it, so all I knew for sure was I had a package to pick up at the post office. (I swear to god the mail person must have either waited for me to go to the can or knocked on the door with a feather because I was home all damn day on Saturday and no one came to the door. But I digress.)

So I read the rules online, watched every video I could find, crossed my fingers and went to the post office this morning.

Special delivery

Success!

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Memento

But it was still a good game night. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!


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I'm hoping to think of a better title but if I don't, I'm sorry, it's late, I played a lot of Ashes today and I'm tired

In case you missed it, two new Ashes decks released on Thursday. It's been over a year. I wasn't excited. I didn't leave work early to go pick mine up. I didn't walk into the store and declare "I'm here for my Ashes decks and I'm very excited!" I didn't go home, sleeve all the cards (I'm a slow sleever, everyone thinks so, this is a big deal) and wait for the Hubz to get home. I didn't text the Hubz and tell him I'd scrapped my dinner plan, I was too excited to cook, please bring home some food. I didn't do any of that. That you know of.

Guess what else I didn't do? I didn't lose eight straight. Eight straight. Actually I did. Mark beat me seven times (over three days), and Leon was nice enough to meet me for lunch Friday and beat me again, taking some of the pressure off Mark. Swell guy that Leon.

So by Saturday night, my excitement was in the shitter and I was a broken shell of my former self. And guess what! I'd planned an Ashes draft for Sunday afternoon. I didn't want to play. I didn't want to draft. I wanted to back over all my cards in the driveway. But I didn't. We had a six-person draft as planned. And it was fiiiiiiine.

Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn

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King Charlotte

This is going to be a short one.

That's what she said.

It was Workman's pick and he declared it a Tichu night. I was much excited. I love me some Tichu.

Tichu box

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Via Nebula: a review. Martin Wallace + fantasy = masterpiece?

Background

Martin Wallace is a very famous British game designer and many of his games centre around trains: building routes, buying shares, collecting and using resources. Three of his most famous games are Age of Steam, Steam and Railways of the World (co-designed with Glenn Drover). They share certain similarities and design elements and range from medium difficulty (Railways of the World) to the more heavyweight end of the spectrum (Age of Steam).

Craftsman and wheat

In 2016, Via Nebula was published by Space Cowboys and if you've not come across this game before I'd imagine you're wondering round about now what trains have got to do with anything? Bear with me.

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So many onions

Let's kick the post off with a recap of dinner. Well, just the appetizer. We ate at our favorite (usually) Mexican restaurant. Leon got there first, got a table, and ordered "loaded queso". It was on the table when I got there. It was the nastiest looking plate of garbage I'd ever seen. "What the hell is that?" "I think I ordered the wrong thing." It was cheese and chorizo and onions and onions and onions and grease. With extra onions.

Workman and Steve got there and lost their minds over it. "This is amazing." "Best queso ever." "You can't have too many onions." No, you can. You definitely can.

This has nothing to do with anything, other than I needed to mention it. So. Many. Onions. So many. Onions.

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AOX preview

One of the benefits of running your own event is that you get to meet some great people throughout the board gaming world.

Chris 'Shep' Shepperson

Shep

We backed Shep's first published game, Package!?, last year which successfully funded on Kickstarter and were impressed with the design. It's a highly abstract game for 2-4 players that can (eventually) be played in around 10 minutes. It does, however, have a steep learning curve for such an ostensibly simple game and certainly isn't for everybody. Now step up AOX, coming soon to Kickstarter.

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Don't Kick a Gift Horse in the Mouth With Those Sticky Toes

Monday was Workman's birthday. (Happy Birthday!) In keeping with Fun Group tradition, we chipped in on a gift. We got him two new games (and a manly Yankee candle, but you can read about that on my manly Yankee candle blog.) And tonight we got to play both of them.

(In a somewhat related story, during the course of this gift buying, Steve confessed that he thought the expression was "don't kick a gift horse in the mouth." His whole life he said it this way. No one ever corrected him. It was just recently that he learned of his gaff. We think this bold stupidity may have cost him at least one job, and probably countless women. Not relevant, just wanted to share.)

Workman's favorite hidden movement game is Letters from Whitechapel. He says it is "pure deduction." I've played it once, and near the end, asked the person playing Jack the Ripper to please bludgeon me with a shovel and put me out of my misery. It is not my favorite hidden movement game.

But when I heard about Whitehall Mystery, I was intrigued. It promised to strip away all the bullshit from Whitchapel that made it run long and become tedious. And even if I still hated it, it seemed like Workman would like it.

Whitehall Mystery

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GI2017: the full report

The Great Indoors 2017

Saturday 29th July at Arrow Valley Visitor Centre

Exhibitors

It was great to see many people taking advantage of our exhibitor demos/playtests.

Dice Hospital

Dice Hospital prototype with Mike Nudd

Four Elements

Michael Mita's Four Elements

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False Tip. (Don't Ask)

I know what you're thinking. No post last week? No game night? No Fun Group? Not exactly.

There was a game night. Last Monday. It started normally enough, eating dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. (I am in no way going to besmirch the name of this fine establishment as I do not think it is to blame for what followed.) Afterward, we went to Workman's house as usual. We sat down to play Ra.

We played one round. Leon pulled a Ra tile. I had to bid. I asked Workman to explain what two of the tiles meant. He obliged. I could hear him talking, but I became aware that I had no idea what he was saying. And I felt very bad. Very. Bad.

I went outside for some air. I sat on the porch for about five seconds and realized I needed to be at home. Like now. So I went back inside, apologized, and said I think I should leave.

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We couldn't refuse. Really.

Leon went on vacation. (Some people are so selfish and inconsiderate.) But we had already recruited Munch, so we had four. What we didn't have was a game. We were doing really well with the weekly pick schedule, but then Steve kept not showing up on his night and blew that all to hell, so here lately, it's just been a crapshoot. We suggested different things, but nothing was grabbing anybody. And then over the weekend I found out that the game I played at Origins, the game that I really enjoyed and pre-ordered, was ready for pickup. (And I thought it wouldn't be out till Gencon!) That game was The Godfather.

The Godfather box

Corleone's Empire. A land where "suitcase" is a verb and you don't make change. Ever.

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Next steps from Monopoly and classic games

If you haven’t played any new board games for a while and are not sure where to begin, look no further. We’ve listed similar games to all of the major classics. We’ve tried to list games which are available to buy and should feel familiar yet exciting by highlighting a key aspect similar to the classic game.

This blog was originally published on the Herefordshire Board Gamers blog.

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Cry Havoc! Or not.

It's game night! I was super excited because we were playing Cry Havoc. And because I tainted last week's game night by being an asshole. But mostly Cry Havoc.

I even sent this super cute pic to the guys the night before so they wouldn't forget. I was so excited!

We were playing Cry Havoc

Kind of sad really, when it al...

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Friedemann Friese ruined game night. But then - plot twist! It was Stefan Feld the whole time!

Last night was game night. We had it all planned. Steve was back, and we roped Munch in for a five-player game of Battlestar Galactica. We hadn't played since the night we locked Leon in the brig for two hours because Steve was the Cylon. That was eighteen months ago. I still feel bad.

But tonight would be awesome. No awkward lessons about racism in the modern American criminal justice system, not tonight, no sir.

Workman skipped dinner to go home and clean the Gloomhaven off his table. And then he messaged us to advise that, umm, he might not actually own Battlestar Galactica. He might have, umm, traded it away two years ago. #awkward

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My Origins 2017 Highlight Reel

For those of you out there who may not know, Origins is like the American version of the U.K. Games Expo. Think of it as our U.S. Open to your Wimbledon. (What's that? No, it's a tennis tournament. We have one of those over here too. It happens after Wimbledon. Well, it's kind of a big deal. I mean, I thought it was a big deal. Nevermind.)

So Origins is a gaming convention held in Columbus, Ohio in June each year. I went for the first time last year. And couldn't wait to go back this year. The Fun Group didn't go (losers!) but I went with the Hubz and two of our gaming friends from back in the day. I won't bore you with a detailed play-by-play, I'll just hit the highlights.

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Top pub/cafe games

Pubs and cafes are a great place to play games and over the coming months I plan to list the best pubs in the area to rock up, play games. Having a game shelf in a pub is becoming cool but with so many games out there where do you begin? (particularly if you are not hugely into gaming).

So here is Herefordshire Board Gamers Top 10 ultimate pub game starter kit.

This blog was originally published on the Herefordshire Board Gamers blog.

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Competition winners

This is just a quick announcement to confirm the winners of the early bird prize draw.

1st place: Ben Gallant - £30 voucher

2nd place: Emma Davies - Terraforming Mars

3rd place: David Tomlinson - Roll Player

The prizes are on their way now from The Board Game Hut so all that remains is to congratulate the winners, and wish them masses of enjoyment, thank The Board Game Hut for sponsoring our event with these amazing prizes, and lastly to encourage any readers who haven't yet bought tickets for our upcoming event on Saturday 29th July in Redditch to consider attending. More details will follow but for now please head to The Great Indoors event to find out more.

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Trucks in Space

There are a few things I do well. I bake outstanding chocolate chip cookies. I merge fearlessly. I can knock back three margaritas and still put up a power score in skeeball.

There are even more things I do poorly. I'm a bad liar. I suck at math. And it turns out I'm a really terrible space truck engineer.

Galaxy Trucker box

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A Dog, a Dragon, and a Phoenix walk into a bar. And the Bartender says....

"Who's got the Mahjong?"

Ok, I'm really proud of that title. Little known fact....the title is the hardest part of blogging. For realz. I hate coming up with titles. But this one, this one just sang to me. So if you hate it, keep it to yourself. Don't bring me down.

By now, you've figured out that tonight was Tichu night.

Deck-box

No obligatory box top photo. Workman keeps his Tichu cards in an old yellow deck box. It has a certain charm, yes?

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Mike Dimona's Five-Point Plan

It's draft day! Who's excited?!?!

Ashes box

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Board game terminology: a guide

Contributor Zara Shoosmith recently wrote an article about board game terminology and how their widespread use in conversations can be confusing and intimidating to new gamers. I am guilty of assuming that everyone will understand when I use a term such as 'king-making'; I do not use the term to consciously exclude people from the conversation but that is in fact a likely result. This whole topic is an issue I had not considered before; joining a board game group already has significant barriers to entry and we must do what we can to make new gamers as comfortable as possible. In future I will try to make sure that if I use jargon, I immediately offer an explanation to those who may not understand. If you are a new gamer, there is also something you can do: read around the topic, consume lots of board game media and, if necessary, consult this handy reference guide designed to explain terms that you may come across.

Confused Peter looking at a dictionary

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Peace, Love, Harmony, and Dad Jokes

Concordia is Latin for "harmony". This is apropos of nothing, except that I took two years of Latin in high school and I rarely get to use it, so I thought I'd share. Apropos of game night, it was my night to pick and I wanted to play Concordia.

This space intentionally left blank

This is the spot in my post where I typically slap in a big yet poorly angled photo of the game box. Concordia's box cover is next-level awful. Like, it's famous for how bad it is. It keeps people away. It's best you don't see it.

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Rocking the Cradle of Civilization

Steve picked tonight, and he went with Tigris & Euphrates. What can one say to introduce such a paragon of board gaming excellence? Where does one start to describe this Knizian triumph of game design and the color beige? I'll start here:

Meh.

Tigris & Euphrates box

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Kodama: a review. The family game with depth.

Background

Kodama: The Tree Spirits was released in 2016, designed by Daniel Solis and originally published in English by Action Phase Games and Indie Boards and Cards.

Kodama box

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Joey, Do You Like Board Games About Gladiators?

It was Workman's turn to pick, and he wanted to play Sporadicus.

I had never played, so I watched a few reviews. I learned that the game involved three phases: Intrigue, where you negotiate via manipulation and deceit; Market, where you wheel and deal and blind bid for assets and people; and Combat, where you fight to the death in a dice-chucking arena battle. So basically, we were signed up for a night of Workman: the Board Game.

Spartacus box

This box contains mature content.

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I find making friends hard; gaming helps

I have suffered with depression for a number of years now; it's hard to say exactly how long. Thankfully, unlike millions of other similarly-afflicted people in the world, I'm a board gamer. Out in the real world, being an introvert hinders my ability to make friends and depression and anxiety symptoms have done nothing to improve this. If you can relate to this then my first piece of advice would be to go to a regular gaming group. Emma and I had lived in Bromsgrove for 4 years by the time I formed Bromsgrove Board Gamers. How many good friends had I made in that time? Not many. Fast forward another 3 years and we have made some great friends, all through the joys of gaming.

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Khorne Wants To Be Where The People Are

It was my night to pick. And Steve was finally going to show up. Correction, Wednesday was my night to pick. And Steve was finally going to show up. Until Tuesday, when he realized he couldn't actually do Wednesday (calendars are hard) and we were all gracious enough to move to Thursday.

And then on Thursday afternoon, this happened:

Messages

Our responses speak volumes about our character.

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Episode XXVII

We were once again sans Steve, and Leon just now got around to watching Rogue One, so it was feeling like a Star Wars: Rebellion night.

Star Wars Rebellion box

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The Unboxing of a Gaming Group

Part 1: All the Great Ones Have an Origin Story

Heroes, villains, gaming groups......the really interesting ones are only interesting because of how they came to be. And most of them came to be as a result of some accident or strange twist of fate. The Fun Group is no exception.

The Fun Group

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Hello, I don't speak board games

So, I recently joined a board games group. For context, I have always loved board games. My family and friends also enjoy board games. It’s just unfortunate that they don’t enjoy board games half as much as I do. Consequently, after over a decade of patient participation I decided to give my loved ones a break and indulge my ludological longings elsewhere.

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Call for contributors

Ever wanted to see your name in lights? Dreaming of your 5 minutes of fame?

We are looking for bloggers who are a little bit different; people who write for the fun of it; people who adore table top gaming. If you're interested in blogging on The Great Indoors then please email Peter .

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My board gaming genesis

I got into board gaming through a friend at church, the right honourable Neil Curtis. Because he's an unassuming, diffident kind of chap, he let me pick the games from his collection that I wanted to play. Rather than condescending by starting me off with 'gateway' games, he let me chart the course, probably reasoning that it's more important to garner enthusiasm for this wonderful hobby than to insist on starting with simpler games and moving from there.

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My relationship with the Rule Book: it's complicated.

Gamers create a wish list of table top games for many different reasons. As I've mentioned before I'm drawn to games by their artwork alone. Obviously once I'm drawn in I do my homework in terms of taste and playability. Then the only thing left to do is to click the purchase button (if it’s actually in stock!) and wait for that well packaged cardboard box to arrive. I carefully open my parcel to reveal my latest addition to the family and check that the game has been safely delivered with all its fingers and toes. Yet I’m only fully emotionally committed once I break the cellophane that seals the board game. The final hurdle is meeting my nemesis... he Rule Book!

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"For someone with Dyslexia, you've chosen an interesting hobby"

Recently a fellow board gamer commented, "for someone with Dyslexia you've chosen an interesting hobby." By that he meant gaming can be pretty complex and challenging. This certainly made me think about what attracted me to table top gaming.

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Theme & Competitive Strategy together will bring balance to the force

As a family we love watching Star Wars. As soon as I noticed the game Risk: Star Wars Edition, I had to purchase it. It’s for 2-4 players although I believe it's best played with just 2 players. The game is based on The Return of the Jedi with 3 different and concurrent battles: the fight between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, the battle of star ships trying to destroy the Death Star and the fight on Endor with the rebels trying to bring down the shield generator.

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"It's not you, it's me".....The value of playing again

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take some time off work and play a couple of games with friends. There is something delightful about spending a day playing instead of the normal gaming night where you only really get a couple of hours to get through a game. You don't feel rushed and you can take your time learning your latest addition. On this occasion I got to play Viticulture for the first time and Blood Rage for the second time. Whilst playing both these games I was able to observe my thoughts, emotions and behaviour, which sounds a little like a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) activity.

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How do you interpret when ambiguity strikes?

Family favourite: Arcadia Quest

Arcadia Quest

The kids and I have started a new gaming tradition in the school summer holidays: we set aside 2 weeks to play Arcadia Quest that normally takes us about 20 hours to complete. Arcadia Quest, for 2-4 players, is a campaign game with 11 scenarios in which you have to complete six. I was originally drawn to the game by its awesome miniatures which I've tried to paint, starting with the Goblin Archers. The city of Arcadia is currently controlled by the vampire Lord Fang and his evil minions and monsters. Players take over guilds of 3 heroes, each of whom have unique abilities. These heroes' powers become stronger over the game so that you can finally destroy Lord Fang. However don't become complacent as the other guilds want to have prestige and they don't mind killing you to achieve this!

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Playing cooperative games can feel like being the fat kid on sports day

I haven't played a great deal of cooperative games and I'm happy to admit I thoroughly enjoyed T.I.M.E Stories, Xenoshyft: Onslaught and Ghost Stories. However, in general I have mixed feelings about games that involve working collaboratively. Each person comes to the game with their own expectations and strategic approach. Where do I fit in this team pursuing victory? It takes a mature group to allow each person to use their unique strengths and also to allow individuals to make mistakes. As much as I've enjoyed co-ops, the hours spent around the table aren't always relaxing and can have their uncomfortable moments.

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